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Australia unveils international standards for hydrogen market

Australia has adopted a suite of eight international standards to enable the continued development and implementation of Australia's growing hydrogen sector.

Standards Australia implemented the standards, established by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) to set a global baseline performance standard for the emerging global hydrogen market, in July 2020.

The new standards primarily relate to safety requirements, hydrogen production, transport and storage in both gaseous and non-gaseous forms, and the means for implementation and consumption of hydrogen in fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs). 

Renewable energy expert George Varma of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law, said: “As a major current and future participant in the global hydrogen economy, these standards will facilitate and contribute to securing Australia’s position as a key producer, trade partner and hydrogen exporter now and into the future. 

“It will inspire confidence in the quality of the hydrogen exported from Australia and provide much needed guidance on how the domestic hydrogen market will develop,” Varma said.

Varma said he anticipated that trading relationships with other countries that had implemented the standards, such as Japan, South Korea and Germany, would now develop at a much faster rate.

“The consistency and quality of hydrogen projects developed and produced in Australia will be world class,” Varma said.

The standards cover a range of areas. They prescribe safety specifications for hydrogen generators using fuel processing technologies, covering hazardous situations and events relevant to commercial, industrial, light industrial and residential use hydrogen generators.

The standards also describe test methods for measuring and documenting the performance of stationary hydrogen generators to provide a standardised baseline of performance, enabling developers and contractors to benefit from a price-competitive marketplace.

Another standard stipulates minimum quality characteristics for hydrogen utilisation in its various end-use forms including fuel cells and combustion, providing a quality basis from technical, safety and commercial perspectives.

The safety and performance requirements for various means of hydrogen production including water electrolysis and pressure swing adsorption systems, used in hydrogen separation and purification, are also covered.

The standards establish material, design, construction and testing requirements for metal hydride storage systems for hydrogen fuel cell and storage applications as well as fuel storage tanks for use in FCEVs. There are also new safety standards and specifications for high pressure valves used in hydrogen refuelling stations that will enable the implementation and operation of FCEVs across the Australian market.

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